Persistent URLs and Citations Offered for Digital Objects by Digital Libraries
As libraries, archives, and museums make unique digital collections openly available via digital library platforms, they expose these resources to users who may wish to cite them. Often several URLs are available for a single digital object, depending on which route a user took to find it, but the chosen citation URL should be the one most likely to persist over time. Catalyzed by recent digital collections migration initiatives at Indiana University Libraries, this study investigates the prevalence of persistent URLs for digital objects at peer institutions and examines the ways their platforms instruct users to cite them. This study reviewed institutional websites from the Digital Library Federation’s (DLF) published list of 195 members and identified representative digital objects from unique digital collections navigable from each institution’s main web page in order to determine persistent URL formats and citation options.
Findings indicate an equal split between offering and not offering discernible persistent URLs with four major methods used: Handle, DOI, ARK, and PURL. Significant variation in labeling persistent URLs and inclusion in item-specific citations uncovered areas where the user experience could be improved for more reliable citation of these unique resources.
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